Are self-care and self-love related? Does one lead to the other?
- Raquel Gomes
This is such an amazing question and one I have never really thought about before. How are self-care and self-love related? To me, self-care has been a prelude to self-love. Learning to not feel guilty for taking the time to care for my mind and body is what led me on my journey towards loving myself and learning how to feel comfortable in my own skin.
To me, self-care means knowing how to listen to what your body and your soul needs. Fulfilling those needs is going to make you healthier and happier. Being healthier and happier is only going to make it easier for you to learn how to feel confident and fall in love with yourself. The first steps I took while trying to regain control of my health were simple ones: doing a face mask, moisturising my skin, eating more than bread and Nutella for days on end. They were straightforward, superficial steps, but slowly, they started to become a part of my routine. The moments I devoted to something as simple and easy as applying makeup or washing my hair were moments of accomplishment and of reflection that allowed me to contemplate how much I needed to care for myself, how much I needed to learn how to love myself again. When you love yourself, you take care of yourself. That care can come in many shapes and forms, but it's there. When you don't love yourself, or you feel really down about who you are, when you don't feel confident or when you don't feel healthy in general, devoting extra time to practice self-care can seem daunting or like a waste of time, but it is during those moments when making the time to make sure your body is nourished, you're hydrated, or getting enough sleep, is most important.
So, the answer is yes. Self-care and self-love are related. Self-care is a step toward self-love. It can be empowering, make you feel more confident, more prepared to face the day or whatever tasks you might have ahead of you, and even make you feel healthier. Self-care is not a substitute of self-love, but a stepping-stone toward confidence and acceptance. Self-care is only useful when done mindfully, not as a distraction of real healing and recovery.
Keep sending in your questions. I'd love to see this column grow and create a real dialogue in our wonderful community of readers about how we can help each other grow, heal, and be better.
Inês Mendonça is a writer and Pink Things intern.